The Mahalaxmi Saras Exhibition at BKC brings together entrepreneurs from the innards of the state and country to offer unique, indigenous produce, fashion and decor.
The popularity of fast food and fashion is often attributed to its convenience. You could do without caring about the traditional arts. But when initiatives like the Mahalaxmi Saras Exhibition, put together by the Government of Maharashtra featuring NABARD stalls, crop up in the city, it not only showcases talent beyond the pool of mass production, but also makes the rural market accessible to the city — so, you really have no excuse for your unsustainable life choices. Talking about the event that extends to next week, R Vimala, CEO of Maharashtra State Rural Livelihoods Mission (MSRLM), says, "More than print and digital promotions, it is the word of mouth that keeps us going because this is very much a family event." Here are The Guide's favourite picks.
Till January 29, 10 am onwards.
At MMRDA Grounds, BKC
Although there are many food stalls to choose from, with vegetarian and meaty options, we found this one by Thane's Shri Vaishnavidevi SHG the busiest. People rushed to get their hands on the surmai fry, kolambi fry and chicken thali — all in the range of R100 — so much so that the staffer looked blank with the response.
If you're unfamiliar with oraganic processes, MSRLM also has a stall that offers a demo on vermicompost and jeev amrut that can be purchased at R40. The instructor Ravi Bhange from Yavatmal will explain the process right from how cow dung, urine, soil and water go into the making of liquid organic manure to post fermentation. You can also check out the cultivation of azolla, a floating water fern.
Fancy a good old bow and arrow? Head to Ramlal Tirgar's stall where he has Rajasthani teer kamans on offer. "I've been making them for 30 years. Now, I've made the bows foldable so they are easy to carry," he shares. Test your aim at R50 for six shots.
For an ornate home decor option, these wooden sculptures are worth checking out. "We come from Madhavamala in Andhra Pradesh where everyone's livelihood is dependent on this craft," Rajesh Velloji of the Kanak Durga SHG, says. Prices start at R1,000.
Sikdar Nurul Islam's furniture stall proved to be a space of relaxation for the crowd as they tested the strength of the chairs from Assam's Bareta district. "Each hand-crafted bamboo chair takes at least three days to make," Islam shares. The chairs are priced at R3,000 but you can also pick hanging lamps (R300) which come attached to a cable to enable a bulb fixture, and baskets for R100.
Watching a Madhubani artist paint is a sight to behold. And that's exactly what we came across at the stall of Patna's Kalakriti Jeevika Mahila Producer Group where artist Sudha Devi was painting on a saree, priced at approximately R1,500. "The women who were unemployed have all managed to earn a living through this art. The saree also has great demand internationally," she says.
Offering natural desi eggs, Greenfield Agro Services offers the Kadaknath variety, for R300 per dozen — a premium since the fowl with black flesh is a rare find. "It's high in protein and a good option for TB and cancer patients," says Snehal Kunde, at the stall. There's also a nutrition section with pineapple rabdi, raagi malt, and papaya jam minus preservatives. Another interesting find is the Ambadi Sharbat Powder (R60) from self-help group Gavkus Mahila Swayam Sahayata Bachat Gat. We liked ladoos and chikki made by the mahua flower at Gadchiroli's Maa Santoshi Self Help Group, priced around R100.
A section with natural foods
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